Halloween has gone from being a time for kids to dress up — and a kind of creepy and uncomfortable time for adults to dress up and drink and act like kids — to a minefield of political correctness that would require a team of Army sappers to navigate without politically incorrect explosions ending careers.
This year’s increased round of dizzying intersectional dogma for Halloween came as Redbook and Cosmopolitan responded to an article by Sachi Feris in raceconscious.org (a wonderful site, surely.) Feris wrote that her five-year-old daughter wanted to be Moana. But well-indoctrinated mommy fretted that would be “cultural appropriation.”
Her five-year-old’s second choice was just a problematic: Queen Elsa from the movie “Frozen.” Mom Feris wrote “I had some reservations regarding both costume choices…about cultural appropriation and the power/privilege carried by Whiteness, and about Whiteness and standards of beauty,” she wrote. This went viral on liberal mommy Facebook groups, where white moms everywhere realized with terror they couldn’t find a way out of the racist maze.
I’m sure that somehow makes sense in Feris’ mind, or she is just regurgitating what has been forced down her throat until she believes that two plus two sometimes equals five. (Read 1984!) But the obvious conundrum was that her white daughter would be racist if she wore Moana because it would be cultural appropriation. But the girl would also be racist if she wore Else because of her white privilege and oppressive history.
So Redbook and Cosmopolitan magazines gave some very lectury advice to moms of white girls (everyone else is apparently fine) that offered such head-spinning contradictory expectations that it would be better to just stay home.
The uberfeminist magazines helpfully explained to ignorant, privileged white moms how to properly dress their girls this halloween regarding Disney princesses — those dangerous Disney princesses! — without: 1) being racist; 2) appropriating minority cultures; or 3) perpetuating white supremacy.
So yeah, like Feris realized, it’s a very small window.
Intersectional dress Gestapo provides guidelines for Halloween
Here’s how it works.
The magazines tell white moms to avoid costumes outside their race. That’s the first one. So Moana is super-duper popular right now with little girls. But the dress nazis say, don’t do it! Why? It’s cultural appropriation. Duh. What’s wrong with you?
OK, for the unwashed outside our superiors on the Coasts and campuses, cultural appropriation is where, say, a white person wears dreadlocks. They can rightly get bullied and beat up by people of color because they are appropriating a non-white cultural appearance. Yes. It happens. Check YouTube. But the definition is as expansive as a non-white deems it to be because they have moral authority, according to the deep-fried insanity known as intersectionality.
Now some major confusion occurs on this point because we have been lectured by the same lefty elites for decades about the glories of multiculturalism, that all cultures are equally fantastic and that we should appreciate and enjoy other cultures. Under that rubric, one would have thought that honoring a Polynesian princess (even a fictional one where an island comes to life) would be a very good thing for people of other races to do— imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.
But no, you racist!
It seems according to the dress cops, that we cannot truly appreciate the Polynesian culture (failure of the tourism industry) and pretending we can for a few hours just belittles that culture. It’s offensive. If you’re white, you wouldn’t understand because you are the oppressor.
The Exorcist girl’s head didn’t spin this badly. Please understand, this is not some exception. This is the growing rule.
College campuses hotbeds of intersectionality
It really blew up two years ago nationally — but had been driving its weedy roots into campuses for years — when longtime Yale Professor Nicholas Christakis and his wife, Erika, were forced out of their faculty-in-residence positions because they thought students should be treated as adults during Halloween — and, gulp, either not take offense or discuss the issue like civilized people.
Erika, an early childhood education expert, opposes adults “over-policing” children’s behavior. She is a card-carrying liberal, as is her husband. Yale administrators for intercultural affairs sent a campus-wide email telling Yale students to avoid “culturally unaware or insensitive choices” for Halloween costumes. Erika responded with an email of her own, agreeing with “genuine concerns about cultural” appropriation and applauding the “spirit” of trying to avoid hurting others. But she asked whether students were well-served by administrators over-policing student norms.
“Have we lost faith in young people’s capacity — in your capacity — to exercise self-censure, through social norming, and also in your capacity to ignore or reject things that trouble you?” she asked. “Whose business is it to control the forms of costumes of young people? It’s not mine, I know that.”
Pretty reasonable…well, not today when reason has left the room. But Erika added this from her husband: “Nicholas says, if you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society.”
Well that seems like pretty darn good advice. So naturally, there were riots. The pitchforks and torches out to storm the castle. This was in the petition signed by endless students and jelly faculty:
“You ask students to ‘look away’ if costumes are offensive, as if the degradation of our cultures and people, and the violence that grows out of it is something that we can ignore…we were told to meet the offensive parties head on, without suggesting any modes or means to facilitate these discussions to promote understanding.”
How can we talk with people who disagree with us without someone to lead us?!? These students seem beautifully molded to be either tyrants or slaves, but hardly free people.
Campuses everywhere are being proactive to “protect” their students in this minefield.
It is so complicated, a magazine published by Ohio State University created an entire flowchart called “Is Your Costume Racist?” to help students dress without offense. They key question through the chart is: “Are you white?” If yes, that changes everything. In the chart, the only costume where there is no issue on race is “Does it make fun of Donald Trump?” Flow part arrow points to: “Do it!”
Just a one-off? I keep saying, this thinking is a contagion on college campuses. The University of Texas created a 29-point checklist for dressing for Halloween without offending. The University’s Bias Response Team — I am not kidding, this is rampant — urges students to report any “party with a racist theme.” Of course, as we can see, determining what is not racist according to the dress cops is all but impossible.
Bottom line, best to just stay home and eat broccoli.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.